A Coaching Power Tool By Lindsey Sheets, Education Coach, UNITED STATES
It seems we all have been in a place of trepidation. A place where we are worried about our next steps, a “do I stay, or do I go?” situation where deciding to take action is as hard as deciding what action to take. Trepidation is defined by Dictionary.com as “a feeling of fear or agitation about something that may happen” and is a completely normal feeling. It can look or feel differently from one person to the next, it’s very individual. Because of this, it can also feel very alienating and isolating, as if you’re the only one who has ever felt it and that you may never get away from feeling this trepidation again. Then, there is confidence.
This wonderful feeling so many of us strive to achieve for so much of our lives and in so many areas. The “feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust,” as defined by Dictionary.com. This empowering feeling can also look different from one person to the next, but one thing is for sure when someone has confidence, most everyone around them can see and feel it. These concepts seem like such competing ideas, two opposite ends of a spectrum. And, when on the trepidation end of the spectrum, it can feel like the confidence end is miles and years of effort away. Psychology Today says
Confidence is not an innate, fixed characteristic. It’s an ability that can be acquired and improved over time.
This is why so many come to coaching. To get away from a feeling of trepidation that can stop them in their tracks and paralyze them into not taking any action at all. A coach can help move the person forward and help to lift that feeling of anxiety that is keeping us stuck on the trepidation end of the spectrum. I am going to introduce you to my power tool to help move your clients from feeling trepidation and into a place of confidence, so taking action can come easily.
It is confidence in our bodies, minds, and spirit that allows us to keep looking for new adventures. Oprah Winfrey
This feeling of trepidation can come out of seemingly nowhere and hold on to our minds for dear life. Someone may have been very confident in the past but is now struggling to get that confidence back. Others may be confident in other areas, but in one specific area, they struggle to pluck up hardly any confidence at all. So how does one address this lack of confidence? How does one move from trepidation to confidence? How can one start to address the issues that are causing the lack of confidence and keeping them from action?
By CLIMBing. As I explain in my Model, CLIMBing can be a great method to move through the anxiety and unease of a new decision and move into action, set goals, and reach them. By helping clients to find where they are on their “ladder,” by starting to claim their future and to learn about their needs, they can start to see what they need and how they can get there. This small step of examining where they are now can help them to understand their trepidation and why they are there currently. Next, you can support them as they set their goals or intentions and examine their own motivators. Without clear goals or understanding of their own motivation, they likely won’t know where they want to go or what will keep them moving in that direction.
Broadly, the end goal is to get to a place of confidence. The goals of the client will be unique and very specific to them. It will take time to work through this step because it will, almost certainly, not be instant and could shift over time. The last step is becoming, beyond, or building. This step can look like three different things to different clients. It may look like becoming confident, as in they feel they have gotten where they wanted to go. It may look like beyond, as in they have gone further than expected or gotten something more or different than they originally wanted. Or, it could look like a building. As in, they have gotten to a solid starting place for them and will continue forward from there. Below I explain more on how to go from step to step within the CLIMB model to help someone move from trepidation to confidence.
Your success will be determined by your own confidence and fortitude. Michelle Obama
People come to coaching to get support in solving their problems. I have many clients come to me to try to decide on the next steps that are best for their future. They want help or support to feel confident in the path they are choosing. Based on the CLIMB model, clients have been able to see where they are in their trepidation and what is holding them back from making the move, they need to claim their future. Some examples of ways I have supported clients through this process are by asking powerful and intentional questions. These specific questions are to encourage growth from trepidation to confidence and/or a better understanding of either space. These questions help them to better understand themselves, to feel they have a better grasp on where they are, where they are going, and help them to feel confident in their choices. A few examples of these are:
- What does it feel like, to you, to be in a space of trepidation?
- What are some responses you can have for yourself when you start to use negative self-talk?
- What are some thoughts you’ve had in the past, that made you feel like you were stuck in a space of trepidation?
- Tell me about a time you felt confident and/or your confidence showed through.
- What are some of the strengths you’re most proud of?
- What’s something that makes you beautiful (think beyond the physical)?
- What would you say are your top 3 best qualities you’re most proud of?
- What are some successes you’ve had this week?
- How does confidence relate to those successes?
These are a few examples of powerful questions that can start the process of moving a client from a space of being unsure and worried about their next steps to a space of confidence. By examining items like their strengths, what they think their best qualities are and other times their confidence has shown through, they can recall those feelings and emotions associated with confidence rather than trepidation. This can help to empower them and encourage them into action.
Core beliefs can be defined as the very essence of how people see themselves, others, the world, and the future.- Quote from Positive Psychology’s worksheet found here.
It can also be helpful to examine the person’s core beliefs. By asking questions that get to the root of their core beliefs, they can start to see why they might be stuck in self-doubt, why they can’t move past their trepidation, and/or why they can’t claim their own confidence at this moment.
Being sure to not dwell on the negative feelings associated with trepidation is very important. Focusing too much on the negative can keep people stuck in that space or “bogged down” if you will, by the memories and past feelings of their trepidation and being stuck. While touching on the feelings they’ve had in the past can be useful, it needs to be done very carefully and only with clients you’ve built a rapport with. If you don’t know how the person will respond or if they will get stuck in those emotions, questions on their past feelings or experiences with trepidation could run the risk of turning them off to coaching or shutting them down completely. The best way to avoid this is by getting to know your client well and treading lightly on past trepidation until you know the person can and will handle it well. Starting the conversation openly, without judgment, and by letting them share as much as they feel they are comfortable with, can be a great starting point.
Different Ideas of Trepidation vs. Confidence
As a coach, the idea of trepidation vs. confidence can look many different ways, depending on what the client brings to you as the coach. In the context I have seen the most, the client comes in with a problem or an idea that they aren’t sure how to resolve or act on. This problem or idea has caused them to spend much of their time thinking, stewing, and stuck on a said problem, such as a career change or what to do after high school. This shows up as trepidation for the client. This doubt, confusion, unease, and all the other things they are feeling can prevent them from taking action or moving forward with their goals.
Moving from trepidation to confidence can take time. Helping the client to think through what it is that’s really holding them back. Helping them to see the side they’re on, trepidation and the side they want to get to, confidence. What it is that is actually causing them to be stuck in inaction and to realize what they need to move past, is crucial. However, this can’t be rushed or forced. This process must be on the client’s terms and it must be on their timeline and based on their needs. It can take a lot of time for someone to realize their own self-doubt or how far away from the confidence they are. It also can feel very daunting for them, like the road they are on with coaching is never-ending.
Being sure to reassure the clients and to help them feel less overwhelmed by the timeline is very important. There can be a lot of pressure associated with making career or education decisions. They won’t need more pressure from you as the coach about their progress. It is, as we all know, completely about them and their needs, not our (as the coach) perceived timeline.
With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world. Dalai Lama
When I think about how this shows up and has played out in my own life, it’s easy to see that confidence has been something I’ve struggled with throughout the years. I have areas that I am definitely more confident in than others, but also areas I lack confidence in a big way. Building up my confidence “muscles” is something I have had to practice and be very intentional with. I can confidently say the feeling of moving from trepidation to confidence is a wonderful feeling.
Reflecting on that feeling, it is amazing how much of a difference there is when managing areas, I feel confident in now, versus before, when I didn’t feel confident. Being a small part of that transformation for my clients is a wonderful feeling. Knowing that after working through this process they will likely feel they are capable of anything, that they’ve made the right decision, that they’ve changed their own life is why my passion for coaching is so strong. It’s an honor to support people in areas of their lives that are so important to them and their futures.
Their growth unfolding in front of you is a wonderful thing to witness. It can be very challenging to watch our clients struggle with self-doubt and trepidation and to want to just “solve the problem for them.” But, we know that is not going to serve the client, it is not going to make the most impact. It can feel like a slow and painstaking process to help them realize their own worth and capability. In the end, though, it will be amazing to witness the transformation for your clients and their lives. The places they go, the things they do and the goals they set and achieve will be world-changing for them. What an honor it is to be their coach and walk beside them on this journey.